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An unlikely convergence, 1890–1940

This book focuses on the apparently surprising convergence between anarchism and eugenics. By tracing the reception of eugenic ideas within five different anarchist movements –Argentina, England, France, Portugal and Spain – the book argues that, in fact, there is ample evidence for anarchist interest in, and implementation of, some form of eugenics. The author argues that this intersection between anarchism and eugenics can be understood as an emanation from anarchism’s nineteenth-century legacy, which harnessed science as a means to change the social world and an ideological commitment to voluntarism as a political praxis. Through the articulation of interest in birth control, ‘neo-Malthusianism’, freedom to choose for women and revolutionary objectives, many anarchists across these five countries provided the basis for the creation of ‘anarchist eugenics’ in the early twentieth century.

Historiographical and research political reflections
Lene Koch

Being a historian of eugenics in Denmark, I have never been in want of an audience. 1 Writing in the 1990s, it seemed that the mere mention of the concept of eugenics was enough to create a strong interest in what I had to say about this – at the time – forgotten chapter of Danish history. German Rassenhygiene and its relationship to the Holocaust were well known, but it was a

in Communicating the history of medicine
Chloe Campbell

The cultural pervasiveness of eugenics, described in the previous chapter, does not always make its influences easy to define: the eugenic programme was largely theoretical, and the intellectual project was always work-in-progress. As a set of ideas, eugenics was profoundly malleable, marked by a deep ambivalence towards concepts of progress and modernity and consequently

in Race and empire
Chloe Campbell

In January 1931, Dr H. L. Gordon, President of the Kenya branch of the British Medical Association, made a speech at the organisation’s Annual Dinner which was a powerful plea for the use of eugenics in colonial development policy. He argued that the promotion of education and physical health in Africa were potentially irresponsible objectives if undertaken without due regard

in Race and empire
Richard Cleminson

1 The ‘paradox’ of anarchism and eugenics Introduction In 1933, the anarcho-pacifist Romanian intellectual Eugen Relgis explored the conundrum of humanitarianism as applied to eugenics in the Valenciabased anarchist cultural review Estudios.1 Could there be, the author asked, a community of interests or any compatibility between the philosophical and ethical concept of humanitarianism and the new science of eugenics? Relgis, active in the anti-war movement and a supporter of the Spanish Republic, certainly thought so. Nevertheless, his attempt to articulate a

in Anarchism and eugenics
Chloe Campbell

The eugenics movement that emerged in Kenya in the early to mid-1930s both chimed and at times subtly clashed with settler prejudices and preoccupations. The movement was born out of British eugenics – a eugenic hybrid was created, which used the same intellectual framework and attracted a similar audience to that of British eugenics, but which was also distinctively motivated by

in Race and empire
Amrita Pande

based on a subtle form of eugenics that depoliticises issues and justifies systemic inequalities by couching them in the frame of choice. The following sections compare the history and presence of population control policies in South Africa and India to two other modes of delimiting the fertility of a certain demography – that of obstetric violence and to emerging repro-genetic technologies. I argue that forced contraceptive, limiting (legal) access to contraceptive, exposing women to violence during pregnancy and birthing, and the inherent

in Birth controlled
Richard Cleminson

3 Early discourse on eugenics within transnational anarchism, 1890–1920 In his opening address to the 1919 conference of the Permanent International Eugenics Committee, the geologist, palaeontologist and eugenicist Henry Fairfield Osborn lamented the existence of a dire ‘political sophistry’ in his own country, the United States. The assumption that ‘all people are born with the equal same rights and duties’ had become entangled with the notion that ‘all people are born with equal character and ability to govern themselves and others.’1 Osborn went on to impress

in Anarchism and eugenics
Race as a central and ‘obvious’ choice
Rufaro Moyo

chapter, I use the literature on racial matching and neo-eugenics as theoretical frameworks to make the argument that race is central to the egg donation process and this naturalisation of race in the process is a form of neo-eugenics. The repercussions of this resemble nineteenth- and twentieth-century eugenics and a desire to maintain the myth of racial purity, which would thereby indicate a possible resurgence of eugenics by reproductive technologies. Explorations such as this are relevant to understanding the ways in which race still asserts itself in our post

in Birth controlled
Richard Cleminson

4 From neo-Malthusianism to eugenics as a ‘revolutionary conquest’, 1920–1937 Introduction Reflecting on some sixty years of debate on sterilization, C. P. Blacker, the British psychiatrist and former secretary (1931–1952) of the Eugenics Society, recognized in 1962 that despite the ‘promising climate’ of the early 1930s, enthusiasm for such a measure had all but evaporated by the end of the decade.1 The reasons for this decline in fortune were diverse. Among them were the situation in Germany and the awareness of the questionable political and racial uses of

in Anarchism and eugenics